Romney, Obama message to voters: “Trust me”

President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney teed up the last three weeks of the presidential election as a question of which man voters can trust to improve the economy. Who do you trust?
AP Wire
Oct 17, 2012

 

If the undecided voters who questioned the two men in Tuesday's fast-paced debate are an indication, then the Nov. 6 contest may turn on whether like-minded Americans decide to stick with a disappointing-but-progressing president, or gamble on a challenger who swears he knows how to create jobs, but provides few details to shore up the claim.

Obama, vastly more animated than in his first debate, accused Romney of misleading voters about his record on China, the U.S. auto industry and U.S. energy production.

"What Governor Romney said just isn't true," Obama said in one of several exchanges in which he practically called his opponent a liar. He was referring to Romney's description of the 2009 bailout of General Motors and Chrysler, when Romney opposed the heavy infusion of federal funds to help the companies survive bankruptcy.

Obama used similar language to describe Romney's assessment of U.S. oil production, and the president's immigration policies.

Romney took his own whacks at the president's trustworthiness. But Romney was at his best when he kept things simple and forward-looking. He said Obama's four-year record is the best indicator of what a second term would bring.

"If you were to elect President Obama, you know what you're going to get," Romney said. "You're going to get a repeat of the last four years. We just can't afford four more years like the last four years."

"We don't have to settle for what we're going through," Romney said, urging Americans to fire a president they generally like, according to polls. "We don't have to settle for unemployment at a chronically high level. We don't have to settle for 47 million people on food stamps."

Given that unemployment just recently fell below 8 percent for the first time since he took office, Obama cannot make rosy promises without looking foolish or insincere. He acknowledged that Americans are struggling. But he urged them to stick with policies showing slow but steady improvement.

"We've created 5 million jobs, and gone from 800,000 jobs a month being lost, and we are making progress," the president said. "We saved an auto industry that was on the brink of collapse."

Obama was most animated when claiming that Romney is trying to sell voters a bill of goods. He said Romney outlines feel-good plans for lower tax rates and higher military spending that would cost $8 trillion over 10 years. The only possible ways to absorb such costs, Obama said, would involve sharply increasing the deficit or finding new ways to tax the middle class — or both.

Slyly complimenting his opponent as "a very successful investor," Obama said that if someone approached Romney "with a plan that said, 'Here, I want to spend 7 or 8 trillion dollars, and then we're going to pay for it, but we can't tell you until maybe after the election how we're going to do it,' you wouldn't take such a sketchy deal. And neither should you, the American people, because the math doesn't add up."

Romney indignantly said he can fulfill his promises. He would limit tax deductions for the wealthy, among other things, he said.

But independent analysts say Romney's plan would have to embrace more painful tax hikes or painful spending cuts to make the numbers work. Rather than offer such details, Romney repeatedly asked Americans to trust his skills and intentions.

"As president, I'll get America working again," he said. "I will get us on track to a balanced budget. The president hasn't."

Romney hit the "trust me" theme time and again.

"I was someone who ran businesses for 25 years, and balanced the budget," he said. "I ran the Olympics and balanced the budget."

Don't believe it, Obama kept saying. Look at details of Romney's past, not his vague summaries, he said.

"When he talks about getting tough on China, keep in mind that Governor Romney invested in companies that were pioneers of outsourcing to China," the president said. He was alluding to Romney's time as head of Bain Capital, a private equity firm.

Tuesday's debate brought huge relief to Democrats despondent over Obama's flat performance in the Oct. 3 forum.

"Whatever bounce Romney got from the first debate was stopped in its tracks," said Democratic strategist Doug Hattaway. "President Obama relentlessly drove the narrative that Romney can't be trusted, and put him on the defense much of the time."

Republicans said Romney's performance was far from shabby, but not quite as sharp as the president's.

"Obama was SO much better that he has to get the win," GOP consultant Rich Galen said in an email. "He was well-prepped to have at least one fact about Romney (true or not) that he could use in every question. I thought Romney looked as strong as he did in the first one, but because Obama was so much better, it may not look that way."

The two men have one more debate, on foreign policy, next Monday.

Between now and Nov. 6, the economy is unlikely to make a dramatic move one way or another. Voters have lots of facts, figures, disappointments and hopes lying before them. In the end, they'll have to decide whom they trust.

 

Comments

Vladtheimp

Wow, That's deep, man - critical thinking at its best. If I understand your comment, as a Christian you must be a pacifist, a socialist, and, it clearly follows, a Democrat. Furthermore, a Christian must love jihadists who kill Christians because they are Christians, murderers, rapists, child molesters, devil worshipers, and yes, even those dastardly and worthless conservative Republicans! I have to admit Lanivan, having read your comments, especially those directed at me and other conservatives, I haven't felt the love.

Lanivan

Yes - that's exactly right, Vlad. We are all children of God - even murderers, rapists, Muslims, terrorists, Obama, Democrats and the Tea Party. Jesus tells us to love our neighbor, to treat others as we would want to be treated, Jesus tell us to never fear for he is always with us. Trying to be a good Christian is hard work, and often times we fail. To sit and self-righteously point fingers at others declaring them to be non-Christians is not what Jesus had in mind, by my interpretation. Ah Vlad, not feeling the love? Just because I disagree with you 95% of the time, doesn't mean I don't care about you as a fellow citizen.

Vladtheimp

Appreciate your caring about me as a fellow citizen. I think I will continue to exercise my right to be discriminating regarding who I love, and they do not include jihadists who kill Christians because they are Christians, murderers, rapists, child molesters, and devil worshipers. Jury's out on Progressives and liberal democrats.

Tri-cities realist

Aww, no love for me? It's a joke Lanivan, no need to reply, but feel free.

Lanivan

This is an example of how being a Christian can be so hard......

Tri-cities realist

Lol, good one, thanks for the love.

Vladtheimp

". That means supporting all social programs, especially those for the borne - impoverished children, the indigent, the unemployed, the disabled. " This just in -
Total Welfare Spending Now at $1 Trillion
Ranking Member Sessions and the minority staff of the Senate Budget Committee requested from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) an overview of cumulative means-tested federal welfare spending in the United States in the most recent year for which data is available (fiscal year 2011). The results are staggering. CRS identified 83 overlapping federal welfare programs that together represented the single largest budget item in 2011—more than the nation spends on Social Security, Medicare, or national defense. The total amount spent on these 80-plus federal welfare programs amounts to roughly $1.03 trillion. Importantly, these figures solely refer to means-tested welfare benefits. They exclude entitlement programs to which people contribute (e.g., Social Security and Medicare).

CRS estimates that exclusively federal spending on these federal programs equaled approximately $746 billion, and further emphasizes that there is a substantial amount of state spending—mostly required as a condition of states’ participation—on these same federal programs (primarily Medicaid and CHIP). Based on data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Oxford Handbook of State and Local Government Finance, Budget Committee staff calculated at least an additional $283 billion in state contributions to those same federal programs,1 for a total annual expenditure of $1.03 trillion. By comparison, in 2011, the annual budget expenditure for Social Security was $725 billion, Medicare was $480 billion, and non-war defense was $540 billion.

Lanivan

OF COURSE it's up. What did you expect to happen when you drive the economy in the ditch, businesses bail on their employees, the global financial markets and Wall Street collapse, the auto industry is days away from liquidation, with scores of disabled soldiers returning home from years of war service? OF COURSE, this wealthiest of all countries is going to help the hordes of people falling into poverty levels, often times through no fault of their own. I suppose you are afraid we have created a new level of society of "new Poor", who just love finding themselves jobless, homeless, food-less, insurance-less, and can't wait to live out the rest of their lives on food stamps and soup kitchens and cots. You and your ilk have no credibility - you can cut and paste a bunch of Fox News propaganda, but until you are capable of acknowledging the reasons behind the actions, you look like a bunch of old crabby whiners. In addition, I bet you are thrilled Romney wants to add $2 Trillion to the defense budget - money the Pentagon says it doesn't need or want. And this on top of a defense budget that is greater than all other countries in the world combined. How much defense money do we need to blow up the world more than once?

Vladtheimp

1. I did not get my quotation from Fox news. The figures are from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service. 2. Obama has driven the economy further into the ditch, and his egg-headed, socialist economic policies have driven millions into joblessness and dependency. 3. The global financial markets tanked due primarily socialist policies and the U.S. home mortgage/credit collapse, which was caused primarily by the Democrats insisting banks provide loans to people who they knew could never re- pay the mortgages. 4. The unionized domestic auto industry was "saved" by Obama by driving it into a politicized form of bankruptcy where the government chose the winners (the UAW) and the losers (20,000 non-union employees losing full pensions [see Delphi], white collar GM workers losing jobs and benefits, thousands of dealerships forced out of business), all so GM could outsource its manufacturing operations to China. 5. Veterans benefits to disabled heroes are not means tested welfare - what the [blank] are you thinking? 6 Quoting Lanivan - ".I suppose you are afraid we have created a new level of society of "new Poor", who just love finding themselves jobless, homeless, food-less, insurance-less, and can't wait to live out the rest of their lives on food stamps and soup kitchens and cots." What you mean WE? Obama and the people who voted for him created this poverty. 7. The automatic sequestration will decimate our national defense, but you and Obama think that he is such a savior that all the world loves us so there is no need for defense spending - Iran, Libya, Syria, Russia, China, North Korea, Venezuela, among others. 8. To Quote the ever sensitive Lanivan " you look like a bunch of old crabby whiners" - thanks for being so ageist, Teenage Queen!

Tri-cities realist

Vlad, thank you once again for having the patience here to articulate your point of view and referencing legitimate sources to back up your claims. My personal favorite is when you cite the MSM to prove your point,and the libs can't accept it. Personally I enjoy engaging in rational debate with those willing to substantiate their claims. I'm getting tired of the baseless name calling, although I've probably succomed to it myself. But I won't be shouted down by the haters. And while we may not convince Lanivan, perhaps there are those reading this, that will stop and think a little about the path our country is taking.

Lanivan

My bad, Vlad! Actually "Teenage Queen" isn't as bad as other names you've enjoyed throwing at me (and not bad at all if I am a woman). Sure beats "fool", "Joseph Goebels (in the style of)", a "McCarthy (in the style of)", and all the rest. You could have called me a "dirty yellow cur" or "crusty curmudgeon"....

Vladtheimp

I am somewhat careful with my descriptions - "dirty yellow cur" or "crusty curmudgeon" would not fit with your comments I have read. I apologize for the "fool" which does not connote what I believe : intentionally deluded Pollyanna with a mean streak. God Bless.

the cat mom

You are right - God WILL do the judging.

AtomicRooster

So tell me. When was the last time you were seen walking on water or changing water to wine? You self-righteous Sunday Christians give me a pain. You live without sin? Then hack at it and throw the first stone. Yea, I don't see you rushing to pick up any stones, do I?

AtomicRooster

Yep you're Christian alright. On Sundays only and then you pretend as well. Have a good day.

Captain Obvious

He says he is a Christian and has gone to the altar in church to accept Christ as his Lord and Savior so we will have to let God decide. Unless you are God's little helper who can see deep into the hearts of men and decide who is and is not serious. I was always taught to leave those calls up to God.
The Obama's do send their two girls to Christian School however and that is a good indication; Just like good Christian families do here in West Michigan

Tri-cities realist

I hope this was your attempt at satire.

Lanivan

TCR - somewhere in this dense thicket of comments you asked me why, as a moderate Republican, I didn't vote for McCain. Good question. I have always respected and admired him. I voted for him in 2000 in the Republican primaries, and was set to vote for him in 2008, until he brought in Sarah Palin to liven up the campaign. I felt immediately that although attractive with a beautiful family, she did not have the capability of being on a national ticket, and she has never let me down in that regard. And then McCain acted so weird as the economy imploded in fall '09. I was not entirely on board with Obama until that point.He was so sool, calm, collected, and capable. And with everything the Republicans have or haven't done since then - whichever the case may be - and a very compromised and weak Romney, I can't think of a single reason why Obama should not have 4 more years.

Lanivan

I have a few more questions for Romney: 1) You say your plan to cut tax rates without reducing overall revenues or the share of taxes paid by the wealthy is possible by eliminating some deductions and credits. Since this is all-important to your tax plan, why do you refuse to identify which deductions and credits? 2) You rarely, if ever, mention George W. Bush or refer to the foreign policy quagmire or 2 wars Bush got us into - in fact, you tend to run from Bush's legacy. Why then have you brought in as your foreign policy advisers the very same neo-cons who advised George W. Bush? 3) Your assertion that you requested a "binder of women" when looking for appointees when Governor of Mass has today been proven to be false. You did not instigate a search for women appointees, but rather were given a listing of women after you were elected, compiled as a bipartisan effort of women business leaders prior to the election. In fact, the % of women appointees went down during your administration and have increased on the current governor's watch. Why did you lie during the debate about this? 4) When pressed during the debate how your tax plan adds up, why did you bluster "Of course it adds up", without giving any additional information or details to help the public understand the math (when most economists say it is virtually impossible to make it add up)?

Lanivan

And, again, some more questions for Romney: 1) Why do you continue to lie (twice in the debate) by insisting that "Obama has doubled the deficit", when this has been debunked by every credible source and simply is not an issue. Obama has cut the deficit by $300 billion with another $200 billion more next year. Why do you continue to state erroneous information in a public forum? 2) Why are you now against an Assault Weapons Ban when previously you were in favor of it? 3) Why did you continue to spread misinformation about the Libya attack by insisting Obama didn't call it an act of terror for 14 days when Obama, on the day after the attack, did indeed call it an act of terror? And why do you continue to attack Obama with this when family members of the victims of the Libya attack have publicly asked you and other Republicans to stop turning this tragedy into an event for political gain?

Vladtheimp

It's not becoming to follow the strategy of Joseph Goebbels that if you repeat a lie often enough, people believe it. To repeat an earlier lesson, In federal appropriations, deficits are ANNUAL - at the end of the fiscal year they are added to the National Debt and new deficit accounting begins. Obama, according to his own budget numbers, has run deficits (real or projected for 2013) as follows: $1.293 trillion in 2010, $1.300 trillion in 2011, $1.327 trillion in 2012, and $901 billion in 2013. In addition, Obama is responsible for the estimated $200 billion (the Congressional Budget Office’s figure) that his economic “stimulus” added to the deficit in 2009. Moreover, he shouldn’t get credit for the $149 billion in TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) repayments made in 2010 and 2011 to cover most of the $154 billion in bank loans that remained unpaid at the end of the 2009 fiscal year — loans that count against President Bush's 2009 deficit. Adding all of this up, deficit spending during Obama’s four years in the White House (based on his own figures) will be an estimated $5.170 trillion — or $5,170,000,000,000.00. Conversely, In the eight years that Bush signed the congressional budget into law, our deficits
broke $300 billion barrier five times. In two of those five years, they also broke
$400 billion. And in one, his final, the deficit topped $700 billion.
You realize, of course, that the democrat Senate, contrary to law, has failed to pass a budget over the past several years. President Obama has submitted his own budgets which have not received one (1) vote in favor of them, by democrats or republicans. The latest Obama budget was scored by the Congressional Budget Office to add $3.5 trillion to annual deficits through 2022. You might want to check for yourself the difference between "deficit" and "debt" before you so readily spew democrat talking points provided by people who are either ignorant or simply dishonest. Obama lied last night when he said he characterized the Benghazi situation as a terrorist attack within 24 hours, Don't believe me, check what Candy Crowley said TODAY, check what Anderson Cooper said after the debate, check what the Washington Post Fact Checker said today http://www.washingtonpost.com/bl..., check that Jay Carney, 9 days after the attack, denied that Obama had characterized it as a terrorist act. I understand that you support the President; I understand that you dislike the conservative philosophy and conservatives - can't you at least offer substance about why your philosophy is better, and be honest, than continue repeating lies about Romney and conservatives? It tactics like these that will cause Obama to fail to be re-elected; although it pains me to give you good advice that might help Obama, I do it gratis.

Lanivan

We've gone down this road before, Vlad. Don't you hate it when those pesky economists with PhD's go and set the record straight.... Of course, you are doing exactly what you accuse me of - say a lie ("misinformation") often enough, people start to believe it. The old adage that Obama doubled the deficit, that no Obama budget was passed - simple statements for simple-minded people far too eager to believe "misinformation" said over and over. We all know deep down inside the reason no Democrat would vote for the budget is those wily Republicans keep adding addendums with all their stuff making it totally unfit to vote on (again, saying no budget was passed is more important than actually doing their job). As for the Libyan "terrorist"/"act of terror" supposed faux pas - the horror of it all! - you tell me.....what exactly is the problem with the president saying "act of terror" the day after the act of terror when the government was still investigating the act of terror. Obama was being careful with his words to not incite more acts of terror - especially when no "acts of terror" groups had stepped up to claim they did it, as these groups normally do. He's no Bush who triumphantly declared "Mission Accomplished!!" about 6 years too soon....

Vladtheimp

The reason no democrat would cast a vote for the Obama budgets is none of them would want to be tagged with the enormous deficit spending the budgets represent, not to mention what progressive fantasies were in them. If you can't trust Candy Crowley, Anderson Cooper, the Washington Post Fact Checker, or Jay Carney, whom can you trust? (Maybe Huffington Post, Mother Jones, and Fire Dog Lake?) How about responding to your favorite media people analyzing the lie, or quoting the transcript? No time now, but I will if necessary, including Jay Carney's assertion that Obama never said it was a terrorist attack. On these issues, you beclown yourself - if politicians are wrong, the good ones, their supporters, and good people everywhere, acknowledge it, Others apply the Goebbels strategy.

Tri-cities realist

Lanivan, please join the real world when talking about budgets and deficits. This is another area I take issue with both parties in Washington. The culprit is base-line budgeting. Any reduction in the GROWTH of spending is considered a "cut" in Washington, which is so misleading. That is the same as if I usually spend $100 at the grocery store, but since I need more groceries this week, I'm planning to spend $150. Using washington's terminology, if I only spend $130, that would be a "cut" in spending of $20, when we all know I actually increased my spending by $30 compared to the previous week. This "fact" is indisputable, it is sadly how washington works, for those that understand base line budgeting. So Lanivan, I know you are politically savvy and should understand this. So in the real world, when the annual deficit during Bush's last year in office was about $700B, and the annual deficit during Obama's first year in office was about $1.3T, how is this not roughly "doubling" the annual deficit? Now if you are a stickler for details and would prefer we say he "almost doubled" the deficit, or "increased the deficit by about $600B", I can live with that. So we can agree on that at least, right? See I'm trying to find common ground with which to work with you. Compromise, that holiest of virtues. Eagerly awaiting your reply.

Tri-cities realist

Still waiting Lanivan.

Vladtheimp

Realist - Suspect you'll be waiting a long time - the CRS report is more devastating than even advertised. If all workers and , folks on Social Security, think about the percentage their income has increased since 2008, they should consider Obama's welfare spending: Table 1 provides a summary of federal low-income spending for each of the four years, broken down by
category. The table shows the largest category of spending – health – was 37% higher in FY2011 than in
FY2008, primarily due to increased spending for Medicaid. Cash aid is the second largest category and
was 12% higher in FY2011 than in FY2008, while spending for the third largest category – food
assistance – was 71% greater in FY2011 than in FY2008, largely due to growth in SNAP. Education was
57% higher in FY2011, almost exclusively due to growth in Pell grants. Housing and development (which
was similar in size to education in FY2008) was only 2% greater in FY2011 than in FY2008, although
this category saw significant growth in FY2009 before declining in the next two years. Social services
spending in FY2011 was 3% higher than in FY2008; spending for employment and training was the same
in each of the two years (although it rose in the intervening years); and the smallest category – energy
assistance – was 67% higher in FY2011 than in FY2008. Energy assistance was also the most volatile
over the period, more than tripling between FY2008 and FY2009, from $3 million to $10 million, and
then declining to $6 million in FY2010 and $5 million in FY2011. http://budget.senate.gov/republi...

This chart puts things in perspective:

http://www.powerlineblog.com/adm...
Obama's priorities do not include the working men and women of this country, national defense, Medicare, or Social Security. I believe Lanivan and his/her friends have to know this, unless they have kept themselves purposefully ignorant, but they can't admit a large part of the failed policies has been a huge redistribution of wealth in an attempt to broaden the middle class through government handouts, but has done exactly the opposite - decimated the folks at the upper end of the class.

Lanivan

I've seen the same charts and figures as you, Vlad. Please don't feel you have to cut and paste every line item on my account. Very simply, the difference between us - and it is huge - is that when you read these words and numbers you see a president coming into office, and on a whim because he's a lefty liberal socialist Muslim, and has nothing else to do with all of that government money that is his personal stash to throw away on non-essentials, decided to dump a ton of money into social programs for that no-good, no-responsibility 47% who mooch off the government for a life time of pleasurable leisure. I, on the other hand, see a president who stepped into a perfect storm of chaos, created by the Republicans, when this country was hemorrhaging jobs, millions of homes were going into foreclosure, thousands of companies were closing, laying off, and in the case of the auto industry, days from liquidation, millions lost their job-provided health insurance when health care costs continued to soar, and the people desperately needing help from social programs - many for the first time ever - rose dramatically. Our president immediately rose to the occasion and began measures to help ease the burden dumped on this country by the Republicans. Now that the economy - with thanks to Obama and no help from the obstructionist Republicans - is stabilizing, jobs have steadily increased for the last 34 months, unemployment is on a downward slope, and housing starts have jumped, I wonder if your all-important reports will begin to show a decrease in spending in social programs? Wanna bet on it?

Vladtheimp

1. I never opined on Obama's religion; 2. The people who he has hurt transcend the 47% up to and including the upper middle class (non rich - $250,000 or less according to your hero) - look at folks on Social Security, look at the % of unemployed in the minority communities; 3. Look at the statistics you have seen but ignore - how has Obama helped working people, retirees on Social Security, with Cash Aid, Food Assistance, Housing, Employment and Training, and Energy Costs? HE HASN'T! Their money is being re-distributed to the "poor." 4; your repetition of liberal talking points that belie the actual state of the economy, employment, is tiresome. Wrap yourself in your cocoon and dream on.

Wingmaster

Nice Aerosmith reference Vlad. Perhaps too much indulgence in their same vices has short circuited ole Laninvain's thought process. Carry one my wayward son, Laninvain, there will be peace when you are done!

Tri-cities realist

Sometimes I wonder, do numbers and data just confuse the left? Perhaps we should focus more on our intentions, rather than results. It has worked for the libs. But the funny thing is that we would be abandoning our principles, which is why I'll stick with logic over rhetoric.

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